Wisconsin’s Lake Superior Reserve has a fantastic new addition to its research and education programs—a 25-foot research vessel equipped with state-of-the-art, high-resolution sidescan sonar that produces detailed images of lake beds and river bottoms.
Owned by NOAA’s Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory, the vessel will dock at the reserve’s Barkers Island headquarters and will ferry staff, visiting scientists, student groups, and scientific equipment around the St. Louis River Estuary and Lake Superior. The boat’s onboard side crane allows loading and unloading of bulky scientific equipment needed for all sorts of research endeavors.
The vessel will be a versatile workhorse for the Lake Superior Reserve, its research partners, and visiting scientists. It fills a critical gap by providing a platform to accommodate student groups. The vessel will also help NOAA and our national system determine which NOAA boats might be most useful to other Reserves.
“This is the first time there’s been this very direct partnership between a NERR and NOAA in terms of research vessel support,” says Dennis Donahue, Marine Superintendent for NOAA’s Lake Michigan Field Station. “A number of reserves are looking into how this type of partnership might translate to them. This boat will further understanding of what type of vessel would best support the NERRS mission and long-term plan.”